Miami, FL – J.B. Holmes dumped four balls in the water in Friday’s second round, but battled to a 1-over 73 at the WGC-Cadillac Championship.
Holmes finished 36 holes at 9-under-par 135 at Trump National Doral. Holmes picked up his third PGA Tour win last year at the Wells Fargo Championship.
Ryan Moore managed a 1-under 71 and he remained alone in second place at minus-7. Adam Scott carded a 4-under 68 for the low round of the day. He jumped into third place at 6-under-par 138.
Bubba Watson, who shared second place at this event last year, shot 3-under 69. He was joined in fourth place at 4-under 140 by Henrik Stenson (71).
Ryan Palmer (70), 2011 runner-up Dustin Johnson (73) and Alexander Levy (73) are tied for sixth place at minus-3, while Sergio Garcia (69) and Jamie Donaldson (72) are one stroke further back at 2-under 142. Donaldson shared second place with Watson last year.
World No. 1 Rory McIlroy mixed six birdies and four bogeys in a round of 70. He is tied for 11th at 1-under 143. Defending champion Patrick Reed (73) shares 18th place at even-par 144.
Holmes’ round got off to a rough start. His second shot to the par-5 first landed on the front, left side of the green, but rolled off the right side of the putting surface and trickled into the water.
After a drop, Holmes chipped to nine feet and 2-putted for bogey. He quickly atoned for that mistake as he rolled in a 12-foot birdie effort on No. 2.
Holmes found water for a second time at the third as his second shot missed the green right and bounced into the pond. That led to another bogey. After four pars in a row, dropped his third to the par-5 eighth to four feet and he knocked that in for birdie.
The 32-year-old hit his tee shot at the par-3 ninth to 31 feet, but he 3- putted for bogey en route to making the turn at minus-9.
Holmes got that stroke right back with a 2-putt birdie on the par-5 10th. His tee shot on the par-3 13th found sand and that led to a bogey. Holmes birdied the 16th and 17th, but from inside 10 feet.
At the last, Holmes’ drive found water left of the fairway. He missed the green with his third and chipped to 11 feet. Holmes 2-putted for a closing double-bogey, which trimmed his lead to two strokes.
“I hit the ball really, really good, but I didn’t putt the ball as well (as Thursday). Only had a few bad swings, but today every time I had a bad swing it was at the wrong time and went in the water,” Holmes said. “I had four balls in the water, but hit the ball great. It was kind of back and forth. All in all, it was a good day.”
Moore played the back nine first on Friday and he opened with four pars in a row. He missed the green at No. 14 and that led to the only bogey of his round.
The four-time PGA Tour winner erased that mistake at the 15th, where he poured in a 30-footer for birdie. He ran off 10 consecutive pars from the 16th.
Moore ended that run of pars by draining a 36-footer to save par at the seventh. He tapped in a 2-footer for birdie at the par-5 eighth to move to minus-7. Moore parred the last to end there.
“To have that (par) save on three kind of kept it rolling, and then a great putt on seven and backed it up with a birdie on eight. It was a nice finish to the day,” Moore stated. “It was hard to get a 10-, 12-footer for birdie today. There were a lot of pins I was hitting to 25 feet and was happy to be there.”
NOTES: This is the fourth time Holmes has had the 36-hole lead on the PGA Tour … He won one of the previous three times he was in that position … His best finish at this event is a tie for 18th in 2010 … Phil Mickelson carded a 2-over 74 and he fell into a share of 41st at plus-4 … Webb Simpson and Morgan Hoffmann had the only two bogey-free rounds on Friday.